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Plymouth’s young entrepreneurs show off their business ideas

"The Young Enterprise project is really important as it motivates entrepreneurs of the future."

specsFOR the second year running, Plymouth’s Young Enterprise Trade Fair fell victim to hailstones and heavy winds.

But it didn’t stop the city’s brightest young entrepreneurs showing off their clever ideas.

And even the sun made an appearance.

The all-day trade fair, on Saturday, saw eight Plymouth Young Enterprise teams setting up stalls in a tent at the Piazza.

Teams took part from schools including Coombe Dean School, South Dartmoor College, University Technical College Plymouth, Lipson Cooperative School and the Tor Bridge Partnership.

The young business brains impressed with a range of products, including festival kits, personalised T-shirts, handmade cards and crafts, reusable phone covers that people can decorate themselves, tapestry cushions and aprons – and even candles made from wax from a student’s bees.

And among the shoppers impressed with the goods was Lord Mayor Vivien Pengelly, who made a special stop-off at the fair.

The remit of the programme is for teams to set up and run a real-life company for the course of a school year.

Teams must elect a board, sell shares, design, make and sell products, and then liquidate the company and pay taxes at the end of the programme.

Each team attends a weekly board meeting where they receive advice from city business gurus from companies such as KPMG, Babcock, Bond Dickinson and Bishop Fleming.

This year Plymouth-based media company TwoFour is following all the teams throughout the various stages, filming their progress.

This is the second year that the Young Enterprise project has been managed by Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, and the scheme is expected to build on last year’s success.

Morven Maclean, manager for Plymouth Young Enterprise, said: “The Young Enterprise project is really important as it gives young people a taste of what it’s like to set up and run a business, motivating entrepreneurs of the future.

“I’m pleased to see the enthusiasm and commitment shown by our teams this year and it was amazing to see the work that they had put into their stands and the products that they were selling.”

During Saturday’s fair, teams were judged for the first time as part of an adjudication process which will see one eventually crowned as the winner.

This year’s judges are Richard Smith, chief executive of Bright Solicitors; Nina Sarlaka, vice principal at City College Plymouth; Nikos Lemanis, director of Fuel Communications; and Lesley Allinson, operations manager at Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

The Trade Fair winner will be announced, alongside other honours, at the Young Enterprise Awards evening, in May, at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel.

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